The current measure funding the government expires at the end of this week (January 19) which has set the table for a hectic, albeit shortened, week with yesterday being a federal holiday. Negotiations continue on the contents of the next short term Continuing Resolution which is expected to extend federal funding well into February. This next CR is expected to buy time for appropriators and leadership to hammer out a longer term (2 year) funding deal. One of the pieces being discussed is a potential “tax extenders” provision which would include energy tax incentives that expired at the end of 2016. BTEC has been working to have the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act (S. 1480/H.R. 3161) included in any tax extender package that moves. A tax extender bill was released just before the holidays which did not include the BTU Act, but we are told that the proposal will be altered and that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hatch understands that the BTU Act is the top priority for Senator Susan Collins (R-ME).
It remains unclear whether a tax extenders package will be tacked on to the very short term CR that is being drafted this week or whether that will wait until the longer term package comes together in February. At this point, we are speculating that extenders will wait until February but the situation is very fluid. What we do know is that commitments have been made by leadership in the Senate and the House that these tax incentives will be addressed. BTEC is working closely with Senator Collins’ staff to advance the effort in the Republican-controlled Senate as well as Senator Angus King’s office as they have been very active with the Democrat caucus on this initiative. We have also been in contact with Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), our Republican champion in the House who sits on the House Ways & Means Committee—the panel that will have to sign off on any extenders deal.